By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.2
The midsize pickup field has been whittled down to just two players for 2014: the Nissan Frontier and the Toyota Tacoma. The very capable 2014 Frontier offers a more powerful V6 and its entry-level model comes with a more spacious King Cab as standard fare. As an alternative to a full-size pickup, the Frontier offers impressive power and tow ratings. However, as some newer full-size trucks now beat the Frontier's fuel economy and towing, the Frontier's smaller footprint becomes its most appealing selling point. A look at some of the Frontier's features give a clue that this truck is designed more for recreation than as a heavy hauling work truck. From its spray-in bedliner to its advanced navigation and infotainment options, the Frontier is designed to be rugged, comfortable and affordable.
If you're looking for a tough and affordable truck with serious off-road credentials, but you don't have the space for a full-size pickup, the 2014 Nissan Frontier is the perfect solution. Tow-rated up to 6,500 pounds, the Frontier can pull more than most crossover SUVs.
Big jobs still require a big truck. The Ford F-150 and Ram 1500 have more power and get better gas mileage than the Frontier, although they also cost a fair bit more. Those seeking a simple regular-cab truck will have to look to the Toyota Tacoma.
New standard features for the S trim with automatic transmission include Bluetooth, cruise control and air conditioning, while heated cloth seats are made standard on PRO-4X and available on the SV. Three new wheel options, upgraded audio and navigation, and a sliding rear window on all Crew Cabs except the S trim round out the changes for 2014.
Driving Impressions As a daily driver, the 2014 Nissan Frontier holds its own against the Toyota Tacoma and drives as well as most truck-based SUVs. However, the Frontier's ride does become noticeably...... harsh when it encounters rough pavement and unpaved roads. When equipped with the 4.0-liter V6 the Frontier feels strong and confident, offering up plenty of power for passing or pulling, even at high speeds. The V6's fuel economy, on the other hand, didn't impress us, especially in around-town driving where we averaged about 15 mpg. Inside, we found the Frontier's cabin quite comfortable, with a well laid out dash and firm seating. Unfortunately, the large exterior mirrors produced more wind noise than we'd have liked. For those looking to take their truck off-road, the Desert Runner package offers 4-wheel drive and Bilstein performance shocks, while the PRO-4X brings additional skidplating and a locking center differential.
This helpful feature comes with the navigation system and provides up-to-date information regarding traffic, weather and even points of interest. The new Apps feature allows integration with an iPhone or Android smartphone, further expanding the system's capabilities.
UTILI-TRACK BED-CHANNEL SYSTEM
Keeping objects from falling out of the truck bed is always a good idea, which is why we love the available built-in Utili-track system. With adjustable tie-down cleats built into the bed, the system can be configured to hold all manner of cargo or equipment.
The 2014 Frontier's cabin is versatile and comfortable. King Cab models feature a pair of small, forward-facing rear seats with storage bins beneath, while Crew Cab models have a 3-row bench that's comfortable enough for adults. The King Cab has easy rear access thanks to half-size rear-hinged doors, while Crew Cabs use regular doors. All Frontiers boast storage versatility with rear seats that flip up to create open space and a front passenger seat that folds flat to become an impromptu workstation. Cloth is the standard seat material, with leather available. Lumbar support in higher trims improves driver comfort. We wish the steering wheel would telescope and not just tilt.Exterior
With its raised fender flares and blocky design, the Frontier has a familiar family resemblance to Nissan's Xterra SUV and Titan full-size truck. Unlike the mammoth Titan, the smaller Frontier has a sportier, more athletic attitude. King Cab and Crew Cab models have the same overall length of 205.5 inches. A long bed is available in Crew Cabs, giving them the same 73.3-inch size of those found on King Cab models. PRO-4X models have multiple skidplates to protect vital parts from nature's jabs. Top-line Crew Cab SL trims have tubular roof rails similar to those on the Xterra.
Except for base S King Cab models with a manual transmission, most 2014 Nissan Frontiers are reasonably well equipped. The base S with an automatic includes air conditioning, cruise control, an AM/FM/CD stereo and Bluetooth. Stepping up to SV trim adds features like power windows and mirrors as well as a USB-equipped audio system with color display. PRO-4X models have 4-wheel drive standard and a locking differential. The Crew Cab SL brings leather seats, Rockford Fosgate premium audio and the NissanConnect system. Frontier King Cab models come with a 4- or 6-cylinder engine, while all Crew Cab models exclusively use the V6.
Most convenience and performance features are tied to varying trim levels of the Frontier, but some packages are available. Among them is a Preferred Package for King Cab S models that adds the much-needed AM/FM/CD player and air conditioning. Higher-trim models can add features such as the Utili-track tie-down system, a rearview monitor, a tow hitch, navigation, Bluetooth wireless streaming and Pandora radio. Crew Cab models can substitute their roughly 5-foot-long bed for one that's just over six feet like those in King Cab models. Accessories include a bedliner, step rails and even a dome tent for the truck bed.
Two engines are offered in the 2014 Nissan Frontier: a 4-cylinder that's available in rear-wheel-drive (2WD) King Cab models, or a more powerful V6 offered in all Crew Cab models and higher trims of the King Cab. Transmission choices include 5-speed and 6-speed manuals or a 5-speed automatic. Even 4-cylinder models have a respectable tow rating of 3,500 pounds, and rear-wheel-drive V6 models can tow up to 6,500 pounds. All 2014 Nissan Frontiers run on regular unleaded gasoline. The Frontier's fuel economy is rated at only up to 23 mpg for 4-cylinder models or 22 mpg for V6 versions.
152 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm
171 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/23 mpg (2WD, manual), 17/23 mpg (2WD, automatic)
261 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
281 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/22 mpg (2WD, manual), 16/22 mpg (2WD, automatic), 16/21 mpg (4WD, manual), 15/21 mpg (4WD, automatic)
The 2014 Nissan Frontier has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just under $19,000 for an S trim King Cab with a manual transmission. At the other end of the spectrum, a 4WD Frontier Crew Cab SL starts close to $35,000. The Toyota Tacoma's base price is a few hundred less than the Frontier's and provides more standard features but less interior room. Roomier versions of the Tacoma with rear seating are comparable in price to similarly equipped Frontiers. Before buying, be sure to check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price below to see what others in your area are paying for the 2014 Nissan Frontier. In the battle for resale value, the Nissan holds its own, but isn't as high as that of the Toyota in this 2-horse race.
By Ali on Monday, December 08, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,000overall rating 4 of 10rating details
Cons: "NO heat in park!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I've had this truck for 6 months and 10,000 miles. I do not love it. It is pretty zippy on dry pavement, but pretty gutless if there is even a suggestion of snow/ice, unless it is in 4x4. I recently had to retire my Toyota Tacoma, and I have regretted not getting another Toyota for the last 6 months. I live in Alaska, it gets cold here. This truck has ZERO heat in park! I can't tell you how aggravating it is to put my children in a truck that is 30 below even after running for 15 minutes! I took the truck to the dealer and they said the antifreeze has to be mixed to exactly 42-48 below. Well, guess what? It didn't fix the problem! And now I am wondering how my truck will fare when it gets to 55 below this winter. Once you get on the road it is OK, but you still have to get in the freezing truck and drive for about 3-5 minutes before it starts to warm up. The windshield defrost is less than 1/3 of the width of the windshield and takes a while to completely defrost. I plan on getting rid of my Nissan as soon as I possibly can."
2 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By Troy on Thursday, December 04, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Good work truck"
Cons: "Poor mpg and comfort"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Over the vehicle is good no real complaints that I did not already know about. However, for a midsize truck I would expect the fuel mileage to much better, only averaging 19 mpg. Abit uncomfortable for passengers - front and rear."
By RacrFanNY on Wednesday, October 15, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 13,275overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Powerful V-6, Towing, smooth 4wd"
Cons: "Tranny shift points. Low sitting back seat"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I’ve always owned full size Chevy or Dodge p/ups. Now that kids are moved on it was time to downsize. I needed to still have the pulling power to haul a trailer and car, as well as 4wd (not AWD) capabilities. Looked at the Honda (no 4wd) and Toyota (less towing, HP and MPG) and settled for the Nissan. I'm very happy with my choice. Recently towed a Boxter hour and half and couldn't have been happier. The truck towed without hesitation. The power was more than adequate and the ride was great. I hear complaints of fuel mileage but coming from a full size I'm used to it. Currently averaging 17 around town but reached 24 on my last highway trip to Charlotte. My biggest complaint is the transmission is tuned (for mpg) to shift too quickly at around 40 mph. The tranny in that speed and rpm range shifts up and down constantly. I’ve kind of learned how to control throttle and RPM's to limit this but can be annoying when driving over hills in that speed range. This was not a problem while towing as I locked out the overdrive. If my wife drove manual I would have opted for the 6 speed. Ride is stiff but yet compliant. 4wd works great. Very smooth in its engagement and driving feel. Overall I'm really happy with my 2014 Frontier."
12 people out of 28 found this review helpful